Management, Board of Directors & Advisory Board
MIHALIS (MIKE) SAPOUNTZOGLOU
Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer & Director
Mr. Sapountzoglou brings over 27 years of experience in shipping finance as well as trading in capital markets to Bluewater. Mr. Sapountzoglou is currently director and co-founder of Flagship Navigations Ltd., a commercial ship and project management company, since 2016. He began his career in shipping claims and insurance with Sun Enterprises Ltd., in Piraeus (G.S Livanos shipping group) and after his studies, he continued with the group in their Monaco family office where he focused on proprietary trading and asset management. In 1994 he joined the Angelopoulos Group (Metrostar) at their family office in London where he held various senior positions within the group until his departure in 2015. During his 21 years, he led or co-led projects within the group’s core investments including steel mills, shipping, shipyards (yacht building - Oceanco) and off- shore UDW rigs. As Finance Director for Metrostar Management Corp., he was responsible for the company's shipping financing strategy and business development. The company invested in all sectors and sizes of shipping with over 180 transactions and 70 new building projects handling, in many cases the contract negotiations. In the offshore sector, he was director of Deepsea Metro, a joint venture with Odfjell Drilling Ltd. where he co-led the company’s fundraising efforts, raising over $1.5 billion in the capital markets. Mr. Sapountzoglou who currently resides in Athens, was raised in Toronto, is a Canadian citizen and holds an Honors BA in Economics and International Finance from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada.
ANTONIOS (TONY) BACKOS
Chief Operating Officer & Director
Mr. Backos has over 21 years of strategic corporate shipping transaction experience and has served since 2012 as the Executive Director of AB Management LLC, a private consulting firm providing transactional advisory services to international ultra-high net worth families and their affiliated companies in various industries, including the shipping, energy and natural resources sectors. He has assisted numerous startups located in the U.S. and Europe in connection with their formation and successful growth and fundraising efforts. Mr. Backos also led the formation, initial public offering and listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange of a tanker company and served as its Senior Vice President for Corporate Development, General Counsel and Secretary from its inception in 2015 until 2018. Mr. Backos was a partner focusing on capital markets, private equity, mergers & acquisitions and other corporate cross-border transactions at the international law firms of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Watson, Farley & Williams LLP, and Healy & Baillie LLP. He commenced his corporate legal career in 1997 and also worked at the New York and London offices of international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Mr. Backos has a B.S. (Wharton) and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and graduate degrees from the London School of Economics (M.Sc.) and the University of Michigan Law School (J.D.). He is a member of the New York Bar, the Connecticut Maritime Association and the Maritime Law Association of the United States.
Mr. Karos currently is an independent investor and consultant in the maritime and commodity industry advising boutique investment banks and private equity firms in addition to working on projects related to physical commodity trading, maritime technology, and freight forward agreements. From 2006 to 2013, he worked at hedge fund Polar Asset Management Partners in Toronto for the US Equity Long/Short team where he was responsible for the trading activities of the fund as well as investments in shipping, amongst other analytical and trading responsibilities. From 1997 to 2005, he managed the trading desk at Arbor Capital Management LLC, a small cap growth equity pension manager, in Minneapolis in addition to other analytical and operational responsibilities. Mr. Karos began his career in 1995 at Investment Advisers, Inc. in Minneapolis as an analyst for the Small Cap Growth Fund. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Colby College.
Mr. Giannakoulis has over 18 years of experience in capital markets, equity research, investment banking and ship financing. Between 2010 and 2019, he was the Lead Maritime Analyst at Morgan Stanley covering shipping, offshore, LNG, and energy infrastructure. In that capacity, he was the top-ranked shipping analyst by Reuter’s Starmine and Institutional Investors and played a critical role during his tenure in building Morgan Stanley’s dominant position as the highest-ranked underwriter in the maritime sector. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Mr. Giannakoulis was an investment banker and credit analyst at Fortis Bank (sold to ABN AMRO & BNP Paribas) and Poten Capital Services. He has worked on debt and equity financing assignments, advising institutional investors and assisting companies raise in excess of $40 billion.
Mr. Giannakoulis holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from University of Piraeus and he earned his MBA with high honors from Loyola University Chicago, where he was the Walter F. Mullady scholar.
Mr. Jones has over 40 years of experience in the energy, commodities and maritime shipping industries. He was a founding shareholder and partner of Marc Rich + Co, which was the precursor firm to what is now Glencore PLC. Mr. Jones also served as an advisor to the President of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”). Over his four decade career, Mr. Jones has developed projects and businesses in the LPG marketing, coalbed methane extraction, hydroelectric power and natural gas sectors . He has served as an officer in both publicly listed and privately-held companies. Mr. Jones is the founder of Delfin LNG, the first and only permitted floating LNG project in the United States and a company on which he continues to serve as a director.
Mr. Levesque is a founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Qwest Investment Management Corp. an investment manager. Mr. Levesque is the Chairman, CEO and Chief Compliance Officer of Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. and is the Chairman, President and director of Heritage Bancorp Ltd., both companies being 100.00% wholly-owned subsidiaries of Qwest Investment Management Corp. Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. is registered as an investment fund manager in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Québec, portfolio manager in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Ontario, and as an exempt market dealer in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario. He has over 30 years of experience in the Canadian financial industry and is recognized for his broad knowledge, skills and experience in the venture capital industry, financial services industry and for his leadership skills in new business formation and development. Mr. Levesque is a founder and/or a director of several private and publicly traded companies which operate in a variety of industries. He is a graduate from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with a diploma in Administration Management.
Mr. McFadden has broad management and financial experience and expertise across a number of industries including oil & gas, power, energy and industrial products distribution, specialty chemicals and energy marketing. Previously, he was Vice President, Capital Markets and Business Development at Eagle Energy Inc., an oil and gas company. Prior to that position, he was Executive Vice President, Business Development at Superior Plus Corp., a conglomerate with holdings in energy distribution, specialty chemicals and industrial products distribution. Before that, he was CEO of several affiliated companies which developed, constructed and operated three windpower projects totalling 147 MW of capacity. Mr. McFadden also spent 14 years in investment banking at a major Canadian bank where his last position was Managing Director and Co-head of Investment Banking in Calgary. His financial expertise and experience includes equity IPO’s, project debt finance, derivatives, mergers and acquisitions and tax-driven structures.
Mr. Therrien is the Chief Executive Officer of AlphaDelta Management Corp., an investment fund manager. Over the past 25 years, he has served in the following executive roles: Vice-President, Director for AGF / 2020 Group of Funds (Canada’s third largest mutual fund company), Executive Vice-President and Director (Canada), Director / Global Institutional Group at Brandes Investment Partners Ltd. (a global investment management firm), President and CEO at Therrien Woods & Co. (an investment council portfolio manager and limited market dealer) and Vice-President (Ontario) Richardson Partners Financial (Canada’s sixth largest brokerage firm). He has held positions on several executive committees, investment oversight committees and long-term strategic planning and product development committees. During his tenure, Mr. Therrien has raised over $15 billion in assets while developing and launching over 23 mutual funds and investment unit trusts. He is a director of AlphaDelta Management Corp. and Qwest Investment Funds Management Inc.
Mr. Warkentin is a Partner at Nerland Lindsey LLP, a law firm. For over 25 years he has worked with public issuers, closely held corporations, limited partnerships and trusts providing advice and direction regarding corporate structure, corporate reorganizations, regulatory compliance and capital raising. Mr. Warkentin is Corporate Secretary of Qwest Investment Management Corp. He received his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta and was called to the Bar in 1990. He also received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Western Washington University.
Mr. Kagel was most recently Manager Director, Equity Trading, at Piper Jaffray Companies, a full-service U.S. investment bank and asset management firm, for almost 12 years. Prior thereto, he was a Partner of Red Sky Partners, LLC, an advisory firm, and Managing Director, Trading, at RBC Dominion Securities Inc., a full-service Canadian investment bank. Mr. Kagel attended the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.